Introduction: In July 2007, the
first application in over three decades was filed to build and operate
a commercial nuclear reactor. By the end of the year, a total of 5
combined license (COL) applications were on file with the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC). In 2008, the number of COL applications
doubled. Media attention, the filing of several early site permit (ESP)
applications with the NRC, and provisions of the Energy Policy Act of
2005 favorable to nuclear generation have been cited as indicators of a
nuclear renaissance in the United States. But the clearest indicator
of the depth and scope of such a renaissance will be the number and
capacity of new reactors going on line. Submitting an application does
not ensure a reactor will be built (or even started). But the
significant number of applications, and the significant expense
involved in gathering required data for each may presage future
commitments by the industry to increase capacity.
1 of this feature lists projects in which the applicant has met all of
the following criteria: 1) publicly notified the NRC of interest in
applying for a COL; 2) issued one or more press releases or initiated a
pre-application meeting at the NRC; 3) selected a specific site for the
reactor; and 4) selected a specific reactor design for the project.
Projects which do not meet these criteria are excluded. There is no
assurance that any of these plants will ultimately be built or operate
commercially. The Energy Information Administrations (EIA) latest
reference case projection for U.S. nuclear capacity additions is
provided in the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO), which projects a net increase of approximately 12 gigawatts of nuclear capacity coming on line through 2030.
the 17 COL applications already filed, a total of 20 projects formerly
met these criteria as of December 31, 2008. The license application
review for Victoria County, Texas, however, has been suspended, thereby
reducing the number of COL applications since the previous EIA report
to 16. Further, NRC no longer anticipates an application for the
Bruneau, Idaho, project: thus reducing the overall total to 18
projects. One of the 18, Tennessee Valley Authoritys (TVA) Watts Bar
2, has already received a construction permit. The permit was issued on
23 January 1973, several decades prior to the NRCs streamlining of the
licensing process. If the reactor goes on line, it will be the last
U.S. reactor for which the construction permit and license were applied
for separately. Excluded from the table is a proposed second unit at
Exelons Clinton plant in Illinois. An Early Site Permit (ESP) for unit
2 was approved by the NRC, but the company has not yet indicated
whether it will pursue a COL.
Many of the
firms that are considering nuclear construction are bound by State
requirements that they be prudent investors.' Therefore, COL filings
often include a goal to keep the nuclear option open" rather than a
full commitment. Quite possibly, final commitment for some projects
will only be announced shortly before actual construction begins. Since
the last release of this report in October 2008, an application to
build an EPR reactor at Bell Bend, Pennsylvania, was submitted to the
NRC. Also, since the last update of this feature, three applicants have
announced that they are reconsidering their selection of reactor(s).
|Table 1. License Applications for Commercial Nuclear Reactors in the United States
Status as of December 31, 2008
||No. of Units
|Bell Bend, PA
||Pennsylvania Power and Light
||NuStart; Energy, TVA
||Ameren UE, UniStar Nuclear, LLC
|Calvert Cliffs, MD
||UniStar, Nuclear, LLC, Constellation
|Comanche Peak, TX
||Energy Future Holdings [Luminant]
||Detroit Edison Company
|Grand Gulf, MS
||NuStart Energy, Entergy
|Levy County, FL
|Nine Mile Point, NY
||UniStar Nuclear, Constellation
|North Anna, VA
|River Bend, LA
|Shearon Harris, NC
|South Texas Project , TX
||NRG Energy, South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company
|Turkey Point, FL
||Florida Power & Light
|Virgil C. Summer, SC
||Scana [South Carolina Electric and Gas], Santee Cooper
||Southern Company [Georgia Power], Oglethorpe Power, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, City of Dalton
|Watts Bar, TN 2
|William States Lee III,, SC
Potential Reactor Sites
Following are more details concerning each of the projects appearing in Table 1. To navigate this page use arrow
Bell Bend1, Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Power and Light [PPL])
The COL Application was submitted to NRC On 20 October 2008.
In June 2007, PPL publicly announced a plan to construct a new reactor
at a property adjacent to the site of its present two-unit Susquehanna
plant. At the time PPL announced that any project would most likely
involve other participants. Subsequent announcements indicate the
involvement of UniStar Nuclear in the project and the selection of
AREVA NP s EPR design. PPL plans to apply for a COL by the end of
Bellefonte, Alabama (NuStart Energy, Tennessee Valley Authority)
The COL Application was submitted to NRC on 30 October 2007.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the multi-utility consortium
NuStart Energy submitted an application for a COL at TVA s Bellefonte
site near Hollywood, Alabama. TVA s evaluation of the project
indicates a desire to meet base load power needs in its service
territory. The Bellefonte COL application could serve as a reference
COL application for other Advanced Passive (AP) 1000 reactor design
applications by other firms. In 2006, TVA cancelled construction of two
pressurized water reactors (PWR), Bellefonte 1 and 2. Unit 1 was 88
percent completed and Unit 2 was over 50 percent complete when
construction was terminated. The COL application is for building
Bellefonte 3 and Bellefonte 4, two AP 1000 reactors at this site. If
TVA opts to complete Watts Bar 2 first, that decision could delay this
Callaway, Missouri (Ameren UE, UniStar2 Nuclear, LLC*)
The COL Application was submitted to NRC on 24 July 2008.
Ameren UE s interest in licensing a new reactor at its single-unit
Callaway plant was first indicated in late 2005 through filings with
Missouri utility regulators. Formal announcement of the project came in
April 2007, when Ameren announced selection of the EPR design in
cooperation with UniStar Nuclear. The Callaway site was of strong
interest long before the public announcement in July 2007. Ameren also
announced that it has ordered long lead-time components for the
potential new reactor through AREVA NP.
Calvert Cliffs, Maryland (UniStar3 Nuclear, LLC, Constellation)
The COL Application was submitted to NRC on 13 July 2007.
UniStar Nuclear Energy, LLC, announced on 27 October 2005 that it would
file COL applications with the NRC for several nuclear power plants
including Calvert Cliffs, Maryland. Calvert County granted tax
concessions for the first potential new reactor at Calvert Cliffs in
August 2006. UniStar ordered forgings and other long lead-time reactor
components for the Calvert Cliffs reactor in 2006 and 2007. Formal site
selection of Calvert Cliffs for the first UniStar reactor site was not
announced until April 2007. The French utility, Electricite de France
(EdF), has now joined UniStar Nuclear in project aspects related to
reactor operation. Only one reactor is being considered for Calvert
Cliffs in the short term. The reactor design would be AREVA NP's EPR
reactor. The environmental component of the Calvert Cliffs COL was
filed on 13 July 2007. In January 2008, UniStar announced that a final
decision would be made in the next 12-18 months on whether to proceed
with a third reactor Part 2 of UniStar s application for Calvert
Cliffs was received by the NRC in March 2008 and is undergoing review.
Comanche Peak, Texas (Energy Future Holdings [Luminant])
The COL application was submitted to the NRC on 19 September 2008.
Although TXU Corporation initially announced that it might build at as
many as three sites, it subsequently announced that plans were limited
to construction of two reactors at Comanche Peak, southwest of Fort
Worth, Texas. TXU favored the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 1,700 MWe
US-APWR design for this site. The Comanche Peak COL application could
serve as a reference COL for any future US-APWR COL filings. TXU was
acquired by a private investor group on 10 October 2007, and re-named
Energy Future Holdings, with the generating component changing its name
to Luminant. The new owners intend to proceed with the Comanche Peak
nuclear licensing though not the other unnamed sites.
(Enrico) Fermi, Michigan (Detroit Edison Company)
The COL application was submitted to the NRC on September 13, 2008.
The Fermi site has one fully licensed reactor currently in service,
Fermi 2. Fermi 1, the world s first experimental liquid-metal-cooled,
fast breeder reactor was shut down in 1972 and is now in Safe Storage.
Fermi 3, the subject of Detroit Edison s latest application, is an
ESBWR. The acronym is defined as Economic Simplified Boiling Water
Reactor in the United States, and European Simplified Boiling Water
Reactor overseas. Even the name of the reactor might cause confusion.
This is the second application for a license for Fermi 3. The original
Fermi 3 would have been identical to Fermi 2, but the application was
cancelled in 1974.
Grand Gulf, Mississippi (NuStart Energy, Entergy)
The COL application was submitted to the NRC on 27 February 2008. NRC review suspended at request of applicant.
Entergy filed for an ESP in October 2003 for an ESBWR design reactor at
its Grand Gulf site. The Grand Gulf site is owned by Entergy, which
operates a single existing reactor there. The permit was issued during
April 2007. NuStart Energy, a multi-utility consortium, announced on 22
September 2005 that it would assist in the preparation of the Grand
Gulf COL. It was originally planned for the Grand Gulf COL to serve,
along with Dominion s North Anna application, as the reference COL for
subsequent ESBWR applications to the NRC. Entergy, however, has
experienced difficulties in its negotiations with Hitachi and has
requested the NRC to halt its review while the reactor choice is being
Levy County, Florida (Progress Energy)
The COL application was submitted to the NRC on 30 July 2008.
Progress Energy s intention to seek a COL for new reactors in its
Florida marketing area was announced in August 2005, when Progress also
announced plans to investigate expanding its Shearon Harris site in
North Carolina. Although the Levy site is about 10 miles northeast of
the Crystal River 3 nuclear plant, there are no reactors currently
located here. In May 2007, two Westinghouse AP 1000 units were
announced. Subsequently, initial clearance for the project has been
obtained from Levy County officials. On 5 June 2008, the NRC held a
public meeting on the Levy application.4 If construction is approved, the work would begin in 2016 or later.
Nine Mile Point, New York (UniStar Nuclear, Constellation)
On September 30, 2008, UniStar filed a COL Application with the NRC.
UniStar Nuclear (A joint venture of Constellation and AREVA NP, formed
by Electricite de France (EDF)) announced on 27 October 2005 its intent
to file a COL with the NRC for several nuclear power plants. Sites
under consideration included Constellation's existing nuclear power
site at Nine Mile Point, New York. According to an EDF communiqu de
presse, a COL application has been filed but a final decision on
whether to proceed with construction upon approval has not been made.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Public
Service Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be invited
to participate in reviewing the project. As of this posting, the
application was not yet available for on-line review by the public.
North Anna, Virginia (Dominion)
The COL Application was submitted to NRC on 27 November 2007.
Dominion Power s Early Site Permit (ESP) application for the North Anna
Station was approved on 20 November 2007. Seven days after approval of
the ESP, the company submitted a COL for one General Electric-Hitachi
ESBWR reactor at the site. Dominion shares COL development information
related to the ESBWR design with Entergy and NuStart Energy, which are
licensing the same design at Grand Gulf. Entergy has recently delayed
filing a COL application for Grand Gulf, leaving the North Anna
application as the reference filing for subsequent ESBWR applications
with the NRC. Dominion announced on 1 May 2007 that it had signed
contracts with GE for long-lead nuclear components for the North Anna
River Bend, Louisiana (Entergy)
The COL application was submitted to the NRC on 30 September 2008.
Entergy announced on 22 September 2005 that it would seek a COL for a
new reactor at River Bend, Louisiana. The reactor design selected is
General Electric-Hitachi s ESBWR. According to Gary J. Taylor, Entergy
CEO, this design has fewer pipes, valves, cables, and motors then older
Entergy has ordered long lead-time components for one of its two
potential new reactor sites, either Grand Gulf or River Bend. Entergy,
however, has experienced difficulties in its negotiations with Hitachi
and has requested the NRC to halt its review while the reactor choice
is being reconsidered.
Shearon Harris, North Carolina (Progress Energy)
The COL application was submitted to the NRC on 19 February 2008.
Progress Energy informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in
August 2005 that it intended to submit a COL application for two
reactors in its North and South Carolina service area. Plans were based
on anticipated base load electricity demand growth in the region.
Selection of the Harris site was announced on 23 January 2006. The
reactor design will be Westinghouse s AP 1000. The site is already the
location of one Progress-operated reactor and had originally been
designed for as many as four reactors. According to Progress,
commercial operations would begin no earlier than 2018. Progress will
have to obtain a certificate of public convenience from the North
Carolina Utilities Commission to build on the site.
South Texas Project, Texas (NRG Energy, South Texas Project)
The COL Application was submitted to NRC on 20 September 2007.
NRG Energy submitted a COL application for two new reactors at the
existing, two-unit South Texas Project site on the Texas coast, south
of Houston. The ABWR design of General Electric-Hitachi was chosen.
However, agreements for building the reactor were subsequently signed
with Toshiba, which also owns international rights to the ABWR design.
In contrast to the reactors selected for other potential reactor sites,
ABWR units have been built and operated elsewhere in the world. NRG
targets construction to begin as early as 2009 under limited work
authorizations (LWA) from the NRC. The first South Texas unit is
targeted for completion in 2014. NRG is 44 percent owner of the two
existing South Texas reactors. The two other owners, CPS Energy (40
percent) and Austin Energy (16 percent), have been offered shares in
the new project.
Turkey Point, Florida (Florida Power & Light)
As of 31 December 2008, the project has not yet filed a COL application.
Two AP 1000 reactors are contemplated for the existing Turkey Point
Nuclear Plant in Florida. On 19 March 2008, Florida s Public Service
Commission approved the planned expansion at Turkey Point but the
utility anticipates many discussions with State and Federal agencies
will precede the final decision on whether to build any new reactors. 6 Florida Power & Light (FPL) notified the NRC that it plans to file a COL application in 2009.
Virgil C. Summer, South Carolina (Scana [South Carolina Electric and Gas], Santee Cooper)
The COL application was submitted to the NRC on 31 March 2008.
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (a unit of Scana) and South
Carolina State-owned electric and water utility, Santee Cooper,
notified the NRC in December 2005 that they intended to apply for a COL
for two new reactors to be built in South Carolina. The firms announced
on 10 February 2006 that they had selected the Summer site for
potential new nuclear construction. Announced plans would involve two
Westinghouse AP 1000 reactors. The goal is for any new reactors to be
completed in time to meet anticipated base load electricity demand
growth by the mid-2010s. Scana owns 66.7 percent of the existing Summer
reactor and Santee Cooper the remainder. On 31 March 2008, South
Carolina Electric and Gas Company (SCE&G) and Santee Cooper filed a
COL application for two new reactors at this location. Several months
later, on 27 May 2008, Westinghouse Electric Company announced7
an engineering, procurement, and construction contract to provide two
AP 1000 reactors to SCE&G for this site. According to
Westinghouse, commercial operation is expected to begin in 2016.
Vogtle, Georgia (Southern Company [Georgia Power], Oglethorpe Power, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, City of Dalton)
The COL Application was submitted to NRC on 31 March 2008.
Southern Nuclear Operating Company announced on 27 January 2006 that it
had selected Westinghouse s AP 1000 design for its plan to expand the
Vogtle plant, and anticipated applying for a COL during March 2008. The
sponsors filed for an ESP
during August 2006, with the goal of meeting anticipated increased base
load power needs in the Georgia electricity market. Southern
anticipates that one of the reactors could be completed as early as
2016. Among the permits that the plant would require would be a
certificate of need issued by the Georgia Public Service Commission.
The Georgia Public Service Commission on 20 June 2006 allowed some
planning and licensing costs at Vogtle to be charged to utility
customers. The existing reactors at Vogtle are co-owned by Oglethorpe
Power, the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, and the City of
Dalton, Georgia. These organizations are involved in potential
construction plans at the site.
Watts Bar 2, Tennessee (Tennessee Valley Authority)
The construction permit was issued on 23 January 1973.
The last newly-built commercial reactor to go on line in the United
States was Watts Bar 1 in 1996. The construction permits for
units 1 and 2 were issued in January 1973. Thirty-six other
reactors received construction permits after the Watts Bar
reactors. All but four of these entered commercial service prior
to Watts Bar 1 (two units in Washington and Bellefonte 1 and 2 in
Alabama were cancelled). In September 1985, the NRC requested TVA
furnish information on plans to address concerns about extensive
deficiencies in operating and construction at Watts Bar and other
TVA resolved the concerns about unit 1, but TVA concluded that
electricity demand would not be sufficient to merit completion of a
second reactor. Since then, however, demand estimates have
trended upwards and nuclear power has become more competitive in the
marketplace. It is estimated that work is up to 80 percent
complete on this unit. TVA concludes, however, that finishing the
work will take about 5 years and cost about $2.5 billion.9
The TVA Board voted unanimously on 1 August 2007 in favor of completing
the work. The reactor may become the first new U.S. reactor
completed in the 21st century.
William States Lee III, South Carolina (Duke Energy)
The COL Application was submitted to NRC on 13 December 2007.
There are no commercial reactors presently operating at the site. Duke
is interested in new construction here to meet growing base load power
demand in nearby market areas. On 4 March 2005, Duke became the first
public utility to notify the NRC of intention to apply for a COL. By
October 2005, the AP 1000 reactor was selected by Duke, but
negotiations with the site owner, Southern Company, continued for about
5 months. Duke and Southern concluded negotiations in March 2006, as
Duke took possession of the Cherokee County site, near Gaffney, South
Carolina. Southern initially approached this as a joint venture in
which it would have the option to own 45 percent (roughly 500
megawatts) of the reactor s capacity. In June 2006, Duke announced that
the plant would be named the William States Lee III Nuclear Power
Plant. Southern agreed to relinquish its interests in the plant in May
2007. Duke has indicated that the earliest possible completion date
would be in 2016.